The COVID-19 Integrated Home-based Care Solution conceptualized and implemented effectively by the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced successful administration of care to over 100,000 home-quarantined COVID-19 patients last week. This initiative was supported by the World Health Organization, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) and powered by Dialog Axiata PLC, Bank of Ceylon, and Wavenet International (Pvt) Ltd.
The 1390 Toll-free Trilingual Hotline and the Patient Management System was launched to support the patient management efficiently by implementing an Integrated Digital platform to manage the home care of PCR/ RAT positive patients. The toll-free 1390 hotline and all connectivity requirements are sponsored by Dialog Axiata PLC, the Patient Management System is sponsored by Wavenet International Pvt Ltd, and the Call Centre is sponsored by Bank of Ceylon. The patient management was led by specialized consultants and over 600 trained medical doctors were deployed with the coordination of GMOA under the guidance of the Ministry of Health to provide individual care.
The successful execution of the 1390 integrated home-based care programme has also reduced the burden to hospital care systems during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the spread of new variants of the virus. The solution was also successful in reducing the workload of the front-line health care providers by providing a platform to manage asymptomatic and non-critical patients remotely. The solution was quickly adopted by the healthcare workers which aided in digitising the manual process of patient data management, record keeping and turnaround time in administering home-based care to patients.
Under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, the toll-free 1390 Trilingual Hotline has now been extended to the general public to register to the Ministry database if they have been tested positive for COVID-19, thereby creating a central hub for COVID-related patient administration. If patients who have tested positive are yet to be registered with the local PHI or Medical officer, they can call 1390 and register with the Home-based Care Solution to be treated from the safety and comfort of their own home as per the guidelines by the Ministry of Health.
Speaking on this milestone moment, Dr. Asela Gunewardena, Director General of Health Services stated “The 1390 Home-based Care Solution is a supplement to the country’s efforts in controlling COVID-19 and on behalf of the MOH, I would like to acknowledge the dedication of the health care workers who have made this system a success while also extending my gratitude to Dialog Axiata, Bank of Ceylon and Wavenet International for deploying the patient management system and the GMOA and WHO for their support given. This national initiative is an asset to the country and the collaborative efforts of these parties will not only substantially facilitate the progress of the country’s pandemic control but also the long-term future plans of implementing a primary healthcare system for every Sri Lankan.”
Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, President of the GMOA said “As of today, the GMOA is happy to state that over 600 doctors and pre-intern doctors have actively monitored over 100,000 COVID patients from their respective homes using advanced technology while also maintaining a proper recording system and a clinical hierarchy. We are grateful to the collaborative strengths of Dialog Axiata, Bank of Ceylon and Wavenet International in supporting the GMOA to bring a high level COVID patient monitoring system to life thereby making an example to the world while maintaining an advanced system to better manage COVID in future as well.”
Commenting, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC said, “We are thankful to the Ministry of Health for giving us this opportunity to further support health care providers with their COVID-19 eradication efforts. We are also grateful to the support received from Wavenet International, Bank of Ceylon and the GMOA whose combined strengths have enabled us to further our ongoing commitment to support the national pandemic mitigation endeavours and those affected by COVID-19”.
Commenting, Kanchana Ratwatte, Chairman of Bank of Ceylon stated “We at Bank of Ceylon, along with our partners Dialog Axiata and Wavenet are extremely proud of our achievement as we reach the milestone of 100,000 homecare patients under this programme. In future, I hope that opportunity will present itself to consolidate this service, post Covid, as a community health care centre. It is opportune to thank the officials of the Ministry of Health, the GMOA and the frontline health workers who were all party to this meritorious act.”
Commenting Suren Pinto, CEO of Global Wavenet stated “Wavenet takes great pride in its partnership with Dialog Axiata and BOC to deliver a robust and scalable platform, with advanced technology that supports an entire nation’s health care needs. It is a true testament of our commitment towards continuously advancing the Health Tech space in Sri Lanka.”
ComBank partners with PayHere to offer Q+ users a unique eCommerce experience
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has partnered with PayHere, Sri Lanka’s largest Aggregated Internet Payment Gateway Service, to offer users of its Q+ Payment App a unique, user-friendly and secure eCommerce experience.
Commercial Bank customers can now conveniently pay for their purchases via the Q+ app to over 3300 registered PayHere Online Payment Service enabled merchants. The Bank’s Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card holders who pay through Q+, the fastest-growing QR app in the country, will not be required to tap in their card details as this information is already stored on the app, the Bank said.
Payments to PayHere merchants via the Q+ Online Pay facility will enhance customer convenience as the transaction will only require the entering of users’ mobile numbers registered with the app. Disbursements via Q+ require authentication using a static PIN which ensures the safety and security of transactions, making the Q+ App more secure than a normal card as the customers’ sensitive data is not transmitted to merchant websites.
TAMAP drives Stakeholder Forum for Good Agriculture Practice
The inaugural meeting of the GAP Stakeholder Forum was held with the support of the Technical Assistance to the Modernisation of Agriculture Programme (TAMAP) at the Department of Agriculture in Peradeniya on 17 November 2021. Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
The Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) programme, introduced by the Department of Agriculture in 2016, was a promising step taken to minimise adverse impacts of agriculture on the ecosystem and human health while meeting steadily rising demand for food. Although the programme had an encouraging start, the overall conversion of farmers to implementing GAP remained low. Over the past six years, 1500 farmers registered as GAP producers out of the 1.8 million farmers in Sri Lanka. To align with the current policy of the Sri Lankan Government to improve ecological friendliness of farming, it is important to transform all production units towards GAP farms.
Studies showed that to achieve this goal, the GAP implementation strategies needed to be updated and infused into the mainstream agriculture, facilitating a quick transformation of the current approach towards a macro-level system. Therefore, the requirement for a rapid strategizing of such an approach followed by periodic review of GAP performance arose. This initiated the need for a stakeholder forum.
The key purpose of the forum is to provide a common platform for key stakeholders to meet in formulating a strategy to mainstream SL GAP, propose a way forward for implementation such recommendations, and to regularly review program performance and adopt remedial action to achieve GAP objectives.
Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture who chaired the Forum in his opening statement commented, “GAP programme has emerged a solution to challenges faced by Sri Lankan agriculture today to improve safety of users and ensuring good environmental performance. Reinforced by facilitating legislation and approved national standards, GAP programme provides a strong foundation towards addressing above concerns.”.
Over forty participants were present at the forum, representing the various stakeholder groups comprising producers, distributers, SL GAP team, academics, and market players. Ms D. S. Ratnasinghe, Addl. Director (Agribusiness) and Dr W. M. W. Weerakoon, National Coordinator outlined the status of the GAP programme and the challenges faced.
The deliberations during the forum were broken down into five main areas: Technical, financial, institutional, and social problems faced by GAP stakeholders on maintaining production, supply, product quality, and consumer trust. Gaps in technology transfer and adoption, marketing and quality control measures and means for increased rate of adoption and GAP farm certification; Gaps in current GAP process and procedures, user friendliness and applicability; Future technological needs towards increasing production, productivity, product quality and ecosystem sustainability; and Policy needs for increased adoption of GAP to mainstream GAP into national agriculture agenda.
Prof. G. Pushpakumara, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya and Ms Jayantha Ilankoon, ADG (Dev) moderated the forum through group activity, outcome presentations and strategic discussions on the way forward.
Concluding the forum, Dr Nihal Atapattu, stated, “TAMAP, along with the European Union that provided the funding support is very pleased to have assisted to launch several interventions that would promote recognition of GAP as a premier means of strengthening Sri Lankan agriculture in sustainably meet requirements of the domestic and export markets. TAMAP expects that the Stakeholder Forum launched today will be a milestone event in advancing GAP to achieve its potential in Sri Lanka”.
HNB’s commitment to expand e-commerce and digital payments wins Daraz award
HNB has been recognized by Daraz for exceptional contribution to its growth, in an independent endorsement of Sri Lanka’s leading private bank’s commitment to expand e-commerce and digital payments throughout the country.
The award, for the ‘Card Base with Highest Overall Growth’, was presented to HNB at the ‘Daraz Payment Partner Performance Awards 2021’. HNB, which ranks among Daraz’s best banking partners, recorded the highest growth on total payment volume, buyer engagement and total transactions month-on-month, for both credit and debit cards for the year 2020-2021.
“This award is an important validation how the local economy – both businesses and consumers – are benefiting from HNB’s cohesive programme to drive greater adoption of e-commerce and digital payments,” HNB Head of Cards, Gauthami Niranjan said. “These efforts are particularly significant at present, given how digital and contactless payments can assist in reducing the spread of the pandemic and support the Bank’s and the country’s vision to transform Sri Lanka to a cashless economy.”
Currently, HNB Cardholders enjoy multiple offers on Daraz, Sri Lanka’s leading online marketplace, a wholly-owned subsidiary of global e-commerce giant, the Alibaba Group. These include zero-interest instalment plans up to 48 months with attractive discounts for HNB Credit and Debit Cards and 10% off site-wide on Daraz for all HNB Credit Cards on purchases made during Saturdays. In addition, HNB tied up with Daraz for its 11:11 and Black Friday sales, which provided HNB Cardholders access to a range of offers and massive discounts.
HNB has been a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s banking industry in the digital banking and digital payments space. These include the launch of digital wallet and payment app, HNB SOLO and introducing Asia’s first-ever fitness-linked savings product in the form of the HNB FIT Savings Account.
With 254 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically-innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd. The bank was also ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine for five consecutive years. HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020.
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